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The Chesapeake Bay covers 2,500 square miles and is the largest estuary in North America. An estuary is a partially enclosed area where the fresh water from rivers mixes with tidal salt water. The Chesapeake Bay was formed over 10,000 years ago when melting glacial ice caused sea levels to rise in the Atlantic Ocean. The rising waters of the Atlantic Ocean backed up into the Susquehanna River Valley, creating a new bay. The bay that was created by the flooding of the Susquehanna was know as Chesepiooc, meaning "Great Shellfish Bay," by the Algonquin Indians who were living around the bay when the first European settlers arrived. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge, which takes Route 50 across the Chesapeake Bay between the Kent Island and Annapolis areas, is officially named The William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial (Bay) Bridge - but most locals refer to it simply as the "Bay Bridge." The Bridge is 4.2 miles long - one of the longest over water structures in the world. The Bay Bridge is actually two side by side bridges with two lanes of traffic on each span. The first bridge (eastbound span) opened in July of 1952 and the second bridge (westbound span) opened in June of 1973.
The Bay Bridge is named after William Preston Lane, Jr., who was the Governor of Maryland when construction of the first span began. The view from the Bay Bridge is always spectacular. The bridges rise 186 feet above the water, affording a birds eye view of the surrounding area. You will see lots of sail boats and other pleasure boats on the Bay during nice summer days. Note: Only passengers should be looking at the scenery - the bridges do not have full road shoulders and, therefore, do not offer motorists the same maneuvering space found on other roadways to avoid accidents, therefore it's important for drivers to keep their eyes on the road. Sourced with thanks from Baydreaming.com/Chesapeake Bay CHESAPEAKE BAY LINKS: About The Chesapeake Bay Homepage The Chesapeake Bay Guide The Chesapeake Bay Wikipedia The Chesapeake Bay Guide - TheBayGuide.com - An online guide Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network - Your Chesapeake Connection The Chesapeake Bay
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